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corruption of the Commonwealth, as to be persuaded of his penetration, whatever capacity he might have besides to turn his penetration to account. He lived frugally and almost solitarily, as if he shunned the sight of the good, always comparatively speaking, as well as of the bad; and while others who had any opportunities were pursuing, however mistakenly it may now seem, the studies of which tidings had first been gained abroad, he laughed them to scorn, as if refinement or learning were disgraceful to a Roman. On the other hand, he was straightforward and stanch; deeply sensitive to superstition in all its influences;5 but otherwise as careless of hindrances to the course he followed as of the helps which, by swerving on this side or on that, he might often have gained to the furtherance of his im patient ambition.
Scarcely had Marius become Tribune, when, in accordance with almost every point we have observed in his character, as it was then observable, he turned against the party of the very patron to whom he had apparently owed his election. The measure he proposed, though not now to be very clearly defined, evidently related to the control which the aristocracy, as we may henceforth style the upper classes, whether of Knights or Senators, had exerted, for two or three preceding years, over the elections; and so skilfully was his project devised, that one of
5 He pretended, himself, to some entrances to the voting-places in the skill as a diviner. Val. Max., I. assemblies to be made narrower, so 5. 5. The Syrian prophetess was a as, probably, to prevent disorder later acquisition. Plut., Mar., 17. and interference. See Cic., De
6 The bill ordered the pontes or Legg., III. 17; Plut., Mar., 4.
the Consuls, Aurelius Cotta, persuaded the Senate to. summon the Tribune before them and to demand some account of his unexpected hostility. Marius obeyed; but it was to brave the Consul and the Senate to their faces. He even dared to threaten Cotta with imprisonment, if he opposed the obnoxious bill; and when Metellus, the other Consul, - and probably the same who, while canvassing for himself, had assisted Marius, - arose to support his colleague, the Tribune declared he would order Metellus, also, to prison. Metellus appealed to the other Tribunes, but ineffectually; and the bill, being brought before the Tribes, was carried without further opposition. That it was not in the mind of Marius to advocate the interest of the lower, so much as to defy the will of the higher classes, was straightway proved by his strenuous resistance to a proposal, probably by one of his colleagues, that a distribution of grain should be made, perhaps gratuitously, amongst the people. Marius would very likely explain his interposition against the projected bounty by saying it was better for the citizens of Rome to earn their food than to be a charge to the Commonwealth; but the truth was, that he liked to combat any cause better than to support it, and if he began with hostilities against the aristocracy, it was not merely because they were most fit to be assailed, but because they would be most fierce against him in return.
It is painful to take any account of the licentiousness and wrong which could make such a spirit as animated Marius honorable. In one year, the Censors
expelled thirty-two members from the Senate;' in another, three Vestal Virgins were convicted of the worst crime with which it was thought they could be charged. A Consul, Porcius, the grandson of the great Censor, Cato, who was sent against the barbarians of Thrace, not only lost his army there, but, as if to make up for his defeat, committed the wildest extortions in the province of Macedonia, for which he was afterwards brought to trial and condemned." Yet such was the indifference towards crimes of which it is sad now even to read, that Porcius Cato was afterwards raised to high station in the army,12 while two of the Vestal Virgins were at first acquitted by the Pontiffs,13 and several of the degraded Senators were soon afterwards invested with the greatest honors of the Commonwealth.14 Whatever might be the confusion and violence at home, the legions, now composed in greater part of allied or foreign than of native troops, were driven farther and farther through the roar of warfare, which could abate, indeed, only for want of enemies, and which rather swelled with every breath of possible hostil. ity.15 Gaul became the scene of the more difficult
7 A. C. 115. ' Liv., Epit. LXII. whom he was easily persuaded to 8 A. C. 114. Oros., V. 15. treachery. He took refuge, after
9 He was likewise a nephew of wards, at Tarragona. Cic., Brut., Scipio Africanus, and, in his youth, 34 ; Pro Balb., 11. a follower of the Gracchi.
13 Being found guilty, however, 10 A. C. 114. Liv., Epit. LXIII. before the Prætor in the following Eutrop., IV. 24.
year. Oros., V. 15. 11 Vell. Pat., II. 8.
14 Val. Max., II. 9. 9. Cic., Pro 12 He was lieutenant in one of Cluent., 42 ; In Verr., III. 80. the expeditions against Jugurtha, by 15 “And war but for a kingdom more or
less." – Rogers's Italy, VOL. II.
conflicts, and her barbarians, with many others along the northern boundaries of the Roman dominions, were raising in defiance the shouts to be repeated, but with a different effect, in some future age. It must often have seemed, that, though the foes, already actually conquered before encountering the forces of the Commonwealth, might fall with scarce a blow to bring them down, there might yet be farther and more impetuous races to roll back the tide upon the nation amongst whom the corrupted and the powerful were no more to be depended on as skilful leaders than the impoverished and the degraded could be trusted as valiant followers.
Yet it was from no precautions on the part of those to whom the perils of warfare in connection with the prevailing domestic disorders appeared most formidable, that the later fate of Rome was not anticipated. The enactment of new sumptuary laws, 16 or the revival of old ones, was the chief effort made against an almost universal profligacy; or else, when too much was plainly perceived to have been left undone, such shifts as seemed commended by the traditions of ancient days were again adopted, and a Gaul and a Greek of either sex were once more brought out in the Forum to be buried there alive.17 A Consul like Æmilius Scaurus, more capable, naturally and professedly, of exercising authority than the generality of his contemporaries, would concern him
16 See note 19. Another law, though later, perhaps, is mentioned in Aul. Gell., II. 24.
17 Freinshem., LXIII. 17.
self, not to relieve the public and private wants of his fellow-citizens, but to regulate the votes of freedmen 18 or the dishes to be served at supper.19 He was doubtless unawares, like others of his generation, that it was possible for the Commonwealth to be seriously endangered through the means either of those who did or of those who suffered wrong.
Caius Marius, as his conduct in the tribuneship has enabled us to perceive, broke into the midst of the Roman factions as though he had been scaling an enemy's walls, determined to strike down every man he met in arms, but thoroughly careless for the helpless, prisoners or wounded, children or women, who might, perchance, imagine that he was come to their salvation. The consequence was, that his onslaught gained him few adherents amongst those for whom he had effected nothing, while those whom he directly assailed marked him as one to be resisted, thwarted, and overwhelmed. Votes failed him almost totally, when he sought the ædileship; and on his appearing, a year or two after, as a candidate for the prætorship, there was so little enthusiasm in his behalf that he nearly lost his election, while so much energy was used against him that he was prosecuted for bribery almost as soon as the assembly which elected him was dissolved. 20 Without winning goodwill or good-report during his year of office in Rome, he proceeded, at its expiration, to Spain, where
18 A. C. 115. De Vir. II., supper. Plin., Nat. Hist., VIII. LXXII.
82. 19 His law forbade dormice for 20 A. C. 115. Plut., Mar., 5.